Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tesco: Evil Christians

Christians are “evil” if they resist the redefinition of marriage to allow for same-sex marriage, the Head of Research and Development at Tesco.com has said.
The company has already faced criticism for dumping its support for the Cancer Research ‘Race for Life’ and sponsoring London’s gay pride festival.

The “evil Christians” comment was made by Nick Lansley, Head of Research and Development for the Tesco website. read more

The Chief Executive, Philip Clarke, can be contacted here. Tell him you are not shopping at Tesco anymore.


nickbris said...

Everybody is after the "Pink Pound",they would do themselves more good if they concentrated instead on the "oldie pound".

The one group who do have a bit of the ready about them are the vast numbers of retired, and most of them have old fashioned ideas of what is right and wrong.

Same-Sex marriage is not only ridiculous but it is fundamentally wrong.

Father Director said...

I was just about to pop out to Tesco to do some of my Christmas shopping, but I will be going elsewhere. It would be nice if companies like Tesco concentrated on retailing rather than pushing particular political agendas.

Thank you for your informative blog.

gemoftheocean said...

Very stupid decision on their part to let this ranting toad off his leash. Tesco's is a huge company, which really can't afford to piss off a big base of ANY customer. *everyone* has to eat, so you'd think they'd be wise enough to realize people can take their custom elsewhere like Sainsbury's, Aldi, Morrisons, etc. You'd think they'd be smart enough not to go overboard on any controversial cause OR deliberately give offense.

Delia said...

Unfortunately, I've already told him I'm not going to shop at Tesco's any more over the Gay Pride business. He might remember.

I have the attractive alternative of 'Housewives' Cash and Carry'!

Richard said...

Father, according to the report his comment wasn't made on the Tesco website. It was made on his personal profile page on Flickr.

This doesn't make what he said any less bad. But it does mean it isn't Tesco's responsibility.

The question then is, do we want people sacked for expressing their personal opinions outside work, or not? Whichever, the same rules should apply to us Christians and to others.

Since the world is no longer run by Catholic monarchies, if we want the freedom to express our faith in public, that is also going to give other people the freedom to express theirs.

And yes, what this man said was wrong. But is that Tesco's fault, and should he lose his job over it? I'd say no.

Richard said...

P.S. - I've no connection with Tesco

George said...

In a sense Tesco is correct.

From the perspective of the "evil" the "good" are "evil", correct?

I think they are providing a level of clarity that we've lost on the side of the Church. We are extremely reticent to use the "evil" tag. Understandably so in the cases of particular persons, but even in the cases of acts of evil, unless it's a terrorist attack, we don't like using that term.

Sodomy is referred to rather as dysfunctional or some other more neutral term.

Tesco and the rest of world following under the banner of their lord, the Devil, have much better clarity on the fight between polar opposites than we do.

shadowlands said...

Martyrdom. Time to pray for the grace, for this. It's coming. Rosaries for strength, in the meantime. We have her word. Our Lady. But the same sword may pierce our souls.

Richard said...

I stopped shopping there as I could not abide Jane Horrock's ridiculous infantile voice on their TV ads.

Fr. Stephen Brown said...

I've posted on this on the Tesco facebook page. It's drawn a few comments - none supportive and one from an atheist which was rude and hostile, which Tesco have removed. Actually, their customer service man's response is the most sensible!

Aaron S-C said...

I don't personally agree with same-sex marriage because I think that marriage is by definition about sexual complementarity, fecundity - the openness of marriage to life in procreation, and is an 'icon' of the love expressed in the Holy Trinity.

However, in response to nickbris's comments, I would say that it is perhaps unhelpful to be overly emotive about the issue: Catholics telling gay men and women that their ideas are 'ridiculous' is perhaps a less helpful way to convince people of our position than giving a thoughtful explanation of our position.

We must remember that many gay men and women that advocate same-sex marriage do not agree with our own premise of what marriage is, metaphysically and culturally.

As Catholics I think we need to remind ourselves that certain cross sections of society are not 'the enemy' and actually are our brothers and sisters for whom Christ died. We have the greater duty as Catholics to argue our position in all truthfulness guided by all charity...a Christian friend of mine once said that truthfulness without charity is like a 'stampede of elephants' without a clear direction...(e.g. truth without charity can destroy souls if it is not given and received in love - imagine telling a gay man or woman 'your sexual orientation is disordered' without explaining what that means in context etcetera).

Let's consider what St. Paul says in 1 Cor 9:19-27. He talks about although he is free he willingly becomes all things to all men that he might share the gospel. For me I think this means we must always try and 'stand in the other man's shoes' and argue standing 'alongside' others rather than across the parapet.

I readily admit that there are times where we must use strong, clear words (e.g. we must confidently state what is heresy) but we must surely always do it with the intention of conversion...of 'winning souls for Christ' as opposed to locking out. Excommunication itself never has the intentions of 'locking out' but of reminding of the gravity of a sin and encouraging the soul to penitently return to Holy Mother Church.

On the side of the angels said...

It's all a little bit more nasty than this..it's not merely anti-alleged 'homophobic' Christians it's very much anti-Christianity itself - http://caritasveritas.blogspot.com/2011/11/im-not-ashamed-to-publish-this-email.html

...and for God's sake PLEASE DO NOT READ the poem...

Michael Petek said...

How about saying we won't shop at Tesco any more until the company dismisses Mr Lansley?

Laura said...

'Same sex marriage' is an oxymoron; just like 'gay sex'. The reality does not exist which would correspond to the phrases. Those who hope to be allowed to 'marry' someone of the opposite sex will find that they do not in fact have the reality; they have an alternative 'thing' for which the law has been altered to expand the meaning of the word 'marriage'. The reality of marriage itself will always be out of their reach. What puzzles me is why they have 'Gay PRIDE' marches in which, presumably , they express their pride in being different, then they go back to campaigning to have us pretend they are the same!

I will gladly email the Tesco chief, Father, but could you print the address? I can't connect with the link.

Laura said...

PS I never set foot in Tesco or buy anything from them. But I do have a Tesco credit card. I pay this in full every month so they never get a penny from me - but do you think I should go on using it? They do send me cash coupons for the points I get on the credit card (you get points every time you use it). I give away the coupons.

capuchino27 said...

Well is there anything new about this.Christ was judged guilty by a Gentile,against his inner conscience.By crucifiction, 'The King of The Jews' shouldered mankinds curse on himself.Today we are similarly cursed and branded,extremist,evil,homophobic etc but Thank God,the curse is only from this passing world and as such we know our witness is real and effective unlike in the 60's when we were off our guard -deep down we did not want to cause offence to a growing secular force!Newman fortold its coming

Jonathan Marshall said...

Michael Petek:

No,that would be wrong - just as wrong as various Christians being dismissed or demoted for simply saying what they believe; there have been several such examples of this recently.

If this aggressively anti-Christian stance were to become Tesco's official line it would be a different matter.

gemoftheocean said...

Aaron, I can see your points. However with the support for the controversial in your face 'Pride' parade, Tescos is being very provocative. As a retailer, they should remain 'neutral' in the sense that they should take care not to tick off any part of their potential customers, particularly their largest segment of would be buyers! If they wanted to do something 'nice' for the so-called gay community, wouldn't it have been a much better and less offensive option to choose to support AIDS research, rather than 'bullwhip central?' It astonishes me that this idiot rose to such a high position given that it's pretty much 'marketing 101' to not aggravate your would be customers! It takes a special kind of stupid to do what he did.

Richard said...

Michael Petek said "How about saying we won't shop at Tesco any more until the company dismisses Mr Lansley?"

Michael, only if you're happy for militant atheists to announce boycotts of any businesses that employ Catholics.

This was on a private blog. Do we want our employers to be forced to sack us over our beliefs?

Protesting about this could backfire badly; is it worth starting a war over one man's nasty opinion?

The Rev. M. Forbes said...

I sent the following from the US./

From: Michael Forbes
Date: December 21, 2011 12:37:26 PM CST
To: philip.clarke@uk.tesco.com
Subject: I took notice
Mr. Clark:
I have taken note of news of your chain in
many sites of the web.  I am very negatively
impressed with your charitable policies and
your unquestioning advocacy of gay
I will never be able to make use of your firm.
 I am glad of that because it saves me the
trouble of boycotting your business.  We
have the same problem here in the U.S.
 Here in the upper midwest  we have a
chain called Target.  They also support only
gay causes.  Among other things they have
forbidden the Salvation Army from bell-
ringing at the entrances to their stores, and
worked to have others do the same, since
their teachings declare homosexual activity
a sin.  They overlook the fact that the army
provides help to addicted, jobless and
homeless without regard to sexuality.
 Suffice it to say that many people here do
not shop at Target, especially during the
pre- Christmas season.
Issues of human Sexuality are complex.
 Issues pertaining to the rights of institutions
and persons who find such conduct morally
problematic are complex.  This is especially
true in the United Kingdom where
interlocking relationships between church
and state and overly complex human rights
legislation create difficulty.
I would suggest that as a business
enterprise it would be more responsible to
treat all customers with dignity and not
make statements that Christians are Evil
because they have objections to the moral
content of homosexual activity.
Happy Christmas.
The Rev. Michael P. Forbes
Rochester, Minnesota U. S. A.

Mike said...

I would agree with those people who have said that they see no reason why Mr Lansley should be dismissed. Admittedly he used the word ‘evil’, which goes well beyond just stating disagreement, but he did not state his opinion on a Tesco website and Tesco have, in effect, made him remove the offensive comment.

However, as Tesco clearly see that what Mr Lansley writes on a non-Tesco website is relevant to his employment by Tesco (otherwise why remind him of Tesco’s policy?) I would have thought that it was in order for Tesco to require Mr Lansley to make a public apology for his comment. As they have not required Mr Lansley to make such an apology I think that we are fully justified to continue to boycott their services.

Michael Petek said...

Richard, we're at war already, and it's a dirty war.

I can't see how Mr Lansley can remain in post, as Tesco has a number of Christian and Muslim employees who might find his comments so offensive that their ability to work with him are compromised.

Remember, we're not dealing with a man of conscience here. He doesn't subscribe to a moral code he can't change at will.

Richard said...

Michael, your argument that other Tesco staff would be unable to work with him is probably a red herring, because I suspect very few of them have to.

He's "Head of Research and Development for the Tesco website" and is currently working on iPhone whizz-bangs to help you shop at Tesco.

That's a very small niche, and does not sound like the sort of job that brings him into much contact with the vast majority of Tesco employees.

And again, do we really want companies to start sacking people over their personal beliefs? Don't we think we might come off worst if that starts happening?

Richard said...

If you want something to have a boycott over, this sounds more promising.

Mr Lansley is, he says, also a member of Tesco's "Diversity Council", which seeks to ensure that "Everyone is welcome at Tesco".


He seems to have failed to uphold diversity of beliefs and to have demonstrated that he does not think that "everyone is welcome", so it seems reasonable that he should be removed from that role.

It seems unlikely that his nasty beliefs about Christians affect his ability to write gizmos that encourage people to use their mobile telephones to buy loo roll. But when it comes to the Diversity Council the connection seems more clear.

The Tesco Diversity Council is chaired by Tesco's Corporate & Legal Affairs director Lucy Neville-Rolfe, CMG. Perhaps try writing to her.

Pétrus said...

I think that the whole Tesco thing is a bit of a red herring.

Mr Lansley is obviously a preacher of hate, but not speaking for Tesco!

If Tesco come out with such a comment then by all means we should boycott them. As it stands Mr Lansley is just one of many Tesco employees who is entitled to form independent opinions. I would imagine there are many other less prominent Tesco employees who have also posted less than pleasant comments on Facebook, Twitter, Flikr etc.

As regards the stopping of sponsorship of Cancer Research UK and the start of the sponsorship arrangement with Gay Pride - what is the connection there?

Cancer Research UK has received £7million from Tesco to date. The Gay Pride march is receiving £30,000 they are hardly substituting one for the other.

Michael Petek said...


Mr Lansley is in a position of authority, or at least considerable influence, at Tesco.

He is in a position to hound Christians out of their jobs as happens with depressing regularity. Recently, a Christian woman who was working at the duty-free shop on Heathrow Airport spoke out against the religious harassment of her colleagues by Muslim employees who were, on the basis of their remarks, evidently terrorist sympathisers.

Instead of taking action against
the Islamists, the manager dismissed her, though he ought to know that he endangers the security of the airport against terrorist offences by allowing them to work there.

Mr Lansley's comments amount to propaganda against marriage and the family and are serious enough to warrant classification as a form of sedition.

Pablo the Mexican said...

The only thing more beautiful than waking up to a pregnant wife, is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

That's why Satan hates it so bad.


The Rev. M. Forbes said...

I received a reply from the company which was rather long. They took great pains to disassociate themselves from the Evil Christian remark and its author.

They informed me that they wish to take great pains to be sensitive to the needs of all their customers. There was much more.

Can you say OUCH?

Mike Forbes+
Rochester, Minnesota

Richard said...

Michael Petek said - "Richard, Mr Lansley is in a position of authority, or at least considerable influence, at Tesco."

It doesn't look like it.

From what I can find on the web, he heads a small team of perhaps half a dozen people who develop fancy new stuff for Tesco's websites.

As I somewhat dismissively said above, he writes programmes to let people use their mobile telephones to buy loo roll.

From my experience of large companies, I shouldn't think he even has the authority to dismiss one of the handful of employees who work directly for him. His broader managerial authority or executive influence over the company seems to be approximately zero.

It does seem that he is a very bigoted, ignorant individual.

But unless he is writing secret code into the programmes to prevent Catholics from using our mobile telephones to buy loo roll, I cannot see how that affects his job.

nickbris said...

Christmas shopping in Tesco is pure pleasure if you pick your time,they were open 24hrs and all the fruit & veg is as fresh as can be.

The clietele is a lot more civilised than that lot who go to Waitrose and the money saved could feed half of Africa.

Boycotting Tesco for some silly reason is a bit daft,we must use the common sense we were born with.

Lepanto said...

I did tell the Tesco boss that I am not going there any more. The reply I received (which was not a personal reply) did seem to indicate that they were worried about what their executive had said. Serves them right.

Frederick Oakeley said...

Perhaps we Catholics should be more careful about the facts. The offending blog was posted on a private blog by one junior manager in a company with hundreds of thousands of employees TWO years ago. It was unnoticed until an extremist Protestant website discovered it and gave it the very notoriety that its author failed to engender. Once Tesco heard about it they ensured that the piece was deleted. Tesco has knot stopped supporting Cancer Research UK but intends to increase the £7 million it gave in 2011 in 2012. All that information is available if we check. As to the £30,000 given to gay pride - it's not an organisation most of us like but, if we ask for support for charities of which we do approve, we might have a logical difficulty in denying support of charities that are supported by some of Tesco's staff. Most big companies contribute to the causes their customers and staff support without that implying any corporate endorsement. To boycott Tesco because of the views of one of it's staff or because it has an equal opportunity employment policy is to fall into the trap of the Protestant bigots who cannot accept that in a free society we do have to defend the rights of others with whom we deeply disagree, if we are to claim rights for the things in which we profoundly believe.

Nicholas said...

I recently emailed Philip Clarke about the comments posted on the web by Nick Lansley. I thought you may like to see the response I received. I made no reference to an anonymous posting by one of their staff claiming they have experienced discrimination on grounds of their Christian beliefs. I only stated that my wife and I would no longer be using Tesco stores at any point in the future.

Dear Mr .......,

Thank you for your email addressed to Philip Clarke, our Chief Executive, regarding the on-line activities of one of our staff.

I can appreciate your concern that comments made on the internet by a Tesco member of staff, Nick Lansley, might represent the views of Tesco itself. I want to reassure you in the clearest possible terms that Mr Lansley’s comments and postings, made in a personal capacity, in no way reflect the views of Tesco. Our values as a company are such that we abhor criticism of any religion, and we knew nothing about Mr Lansley’s comments and postings until they were brought to our attention. It is not for us to dictate or limit those private views but we do not tolerate statements that insult others or their beliefs. For that reason, when Mr Lansley was found to have posted material on his blog which insulted the religious beliefs of others, he was reminded of Tesco's policy and the material was removed forthwith.

You also refer to an anonymous posting by one of our staff claiming they have experienced discrimination on grounds of their Christian beliefs. Such allegations are completely untrue. We make a huge effort to ensure everyone, whatever their faith or background, feel welcome at Tesco and are committed to building a strong culture of respect for all our colleagues. It is a culture which our management and staff at every level strongly support, indeed one of our many staff groups is the Tesco Christian Fellowship.

We know that being the UK's leading retailer carries unique responsibilities. We have a responsibility to show leadership, as we do on issues like climate change and helping to develop our people’s skills. We also have a responsibility to listen carefully to our many and diverse customers and stakeholders, respect their views and seek to balance their opinions in the decisions we make. This is not always easy, particularly on issues where opinions can differ markedly. Whatever the issue, it is never our intention deliberately to inflame or polarise opinion or to make an already contentious debate more contentious.

We very much accept that, however well-intentioned we are, we do not always get everything right for everyone. I do hope, however, that the explanation gives you some reassurance about how seriously we take the views of all our stakeholders, and the value we attach to tolerance and inclusion. I hope also that it begins to restore your confidence that Tesco does try to do the right thing and does indeed listen to your feedback.

Kind regards

Adrian Russell
Customer Service Executive

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